Paranormal Research – Online and Ongoing
The best surveys are anonymous. There I’ve said it! There is an enormous body of research that points to the freedom that being anonymous gives the respondents. Among the arguments for this type of research are the removal of any pressure for the respondents to conform to the expectations (no matter how subtle) of the designer of the survey.
In the past, academic institutions relied on students to be their guinea pigs and often the cohorts chosen were the first years – barely adults themselves, and with limited life experiences. This practice continues. Members of the academic fraternity are still being recruited, often by their own lecturers and tutors. They are surveyed and the findings of the studies are written up in academic journals, books, and reports and the participants are presented as being representative of the general population!
Many will argue against this. Some will protest that this practice doesn’t go on; others will be appalled and call its abolition or at least a true disclosure of what the results reflect.
However, as with many things in life, change takes time and some changes take longer than others. Furthermore, research in general is not immune to pulling power of the prevailing unit of currency, and academic research in particular is even more beholding to those who control the limited pools of research funding. Students are readily available; they are keen to contribute to the body of academic knowledge (and even keener to get good grades?); and they are a cheap source of labour (for this read free). This is the reality of university research. But it doesn’t have to be – particularly where non laboratory based research is concerned.
Through the openness of the Internet it is possible to invite the world to become part of the whole academic research process. And that’s what I did. I wanted my survey to be different. I knew it was a topic that touched the hearts, minds and lives of many people and it was them that I wanted to invite into my study. Sure, the Monash University cohort, of which I am still a member, were invited to contribute but I wanted to reach out beyond the four walls of the academic institution; beyond even the University’s website and its reach, into the real world – the world that most paranormal experients inhabit.
It worked. Over 4,000 people heeded the call to document their paranormal experiences.
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